Whiplash is one of the most underestimated car accident injuries. Even minor crashes, such as rear-end collisions, can lead to severe whiplash. However, an accident victim might not realize the harm soon enough or brush it off as not important. As a result, untreated whiplash can lead to long-term or life-long pain.
Whiplash happens when someone’s head is whipped quickly back and forth. The movement stretches and tears the tendons in the neck, causing symptoms like:
- Minor to severe pain and tenderness
- Lost range of movement
- Neck stiffness
Here’s what to know about getting proper treatment for whiplash.
Why Whiplash Often Goes Untreated
No one is prepared for a sudden car accident. When you get into an accident, your body floods with adrenaline and other hormones. Your body goes into “fight or flight” to handle the stress of the moment.
Adrenaline can numb the pain—or mask it entirely. An accident victim might not even notice their pain until hours or days later. Some whiplash can take weeks to show up completely.
When a victim does feel pain, they might assume it’s no big deal. Even if the person goes to the doctor, they could fail to mention the neck pain or downplay how bad it is. This can lead to untreated whiplash for weeks, months, or much longer.
The Consequences of Untreated Whiplash
It’s crucial to get medical attention for whiplash immediately. Any pain or discomfort after a car accident could be the beginning of something more serious. It’s best to see a doctor right away for any differences you notice after the accident.
Untreated whiplash can lead to more severe symptoms. Common side effects of leaving whiplash untreated include:
Disease and Misalignment
Untreated whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain. In some cases, it can cause serious issues like:
- Misalignment of the spine
- Degenerative disc disease
These conditions can cause numbness, weakness, and a lot of pain in the neck and spine. They might also significantly limit movement over time.
Vertigo and Ringing Ears
Neck pain and tension can cause vertigo, dizziness, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Each can come on suddenly and become worse if untreated. Someone might struggle to concentrate or get proper sleep.
Headaches and migraines are widespread with whiplash. If untreated, whiplash can lead to even more severe headaches. The pain often starts at the bottom of the skull before moving up.
Whiplash headaches might happen on one or both sides. The pain or numbness can affect your shoulders, arms, chest, or back. Migraines can also make someone sensitive to light sound or sound and cause dizziness.
Mental Health Problems
Not all whiplash symptoms are physical. Someone can suffer mentally and emotionally with untreated whiplash. An accident victim might experience:
- Mood swings
- Sleep issues
These problems can affect daily life, including work and relationships. Without getting treatment, someone might not even make the connection between whiplash and mental health struggles.
Car accidents can also lead to fractures in the spine. Whiplash symptoms can sometimes hide fracture symptoms. Untreated whiplash signs might prevent someone from realizing more severe issues from the crash.
Even if someone goes to the doctor after an accident, their whiplash could go untreated. That’s because whiplash rarely shows up on imaging tests. A doctor typically diagnoses whiplash through symptoms the patient describes.
Don’t wait to get treatment after a whiplash injury. If you do, it could delay your treatment even longer and lead to long-term issues. To learn more about recording your whiplash, contact John Foy & Associates. Our lawyers can ensure you know your legal options. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
Documenting Whiplash for an Injury Claim
There are legal consequences of whiplash, too. If someone else was responsible for your accident, they might be liable for your costs. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-12-4, you can seek compensation for your damages.
Seeing a doctor is the best way to document your whiplash and other injuries. If you don’t get treatment, the other driver’s insurance company will question your claim. The insurer cannot compensate you for injuries that don’t have clear documentation.
Treating whiplash will also let you know if there are more serious things going on. You might need long-term care, and you’ll want to include that in your claim so that you don’t end up paying for injuries you didn’t cause.
See a Doctor for Whiplash as Soon as Possible
According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for whiplash can include:
- Hot or cold therapy
- Prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Gentle exercises or stretches
- Physical therapy
- Foam collars
Whiplash often goes untreated because it doesn’t show up on tests. Accident victims might also assume their pain isn’t a big deal. Plus, many people don’t feel the pain of whiplash until hours or days later.
After an accident, always see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you feel okay, have a doctor examine you for any injuries. And if you experience more or changing pain, call your doctor immediately.
The consequences of untreated whiplash can be vast and life-long. Protect your health and legal rights by getting treatment as soon as you can.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Whiplash injuries are serious. If you or a loved one suffered whiplash from an accident, contact John Foy & Associates. We can help document injuries and build a personal injury claim. We can also help if you have questions about getting compensation for your whiplash.
Our lawyers do not get paid unless we win you compensation. You can get started at no risk. With over 20 years of experience, we know what it takes to win cases.
Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get a FREE consultation.